This blog is associated with the random Bible verse generating website www.bibledice.com .
Biblical Serendipity: The right verse at the right time
by Sheldon Lawrence
An interesting feature of spiritual autobiography throughout Christian history is the number of times someone, while grappling with a dilemma or pouring their heart out to God, feels inspired to open the Bible and read the first verse their eyes come to. Maybe the earliest and most notable of these moments is the story of St. Augustine’s conversion to Christianity as related in Confessions. Having explored and experimented with the various philosophies of his day, he increasingly felt drawn to Christianity, becoming convinced it was God’s truth, but still unable to fully commit himself to the faith.
One day as Augustine paced in his garden at Milan, torn by indecision and inner turmoil, he heard a child’s voice say, “Tolle, lege. Tolle lege” Pick up and read. Pick up and read. Going to “the book of the apostle [Paul],” Augustine writes, “I seized it, opened it and in silence read the first passage on which my eyes lit: ‘Not in riots and drunken parties, not in eroticism and indecencies, not in strife and rivalry, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in its lusts’ (Rom. 13: 13-14). Upon reading this passage, Augustine reports “All the shadow of doubts were dispelled” (153).
I think of this and other similar moments as a kind of divinely serendipitous reading. And it was with such moments in mind that I created Bibledice.com. With no advertising and zero promotion, the website is now used by thousands of Bible readers from around the world.
Obviously this serendipity doesn’t happen every time you open (or click) the Bible. Yet there are those times when you just know the passage you get is more than coincidence. Maybe it’s a feeling. Maybe the scripture is just too specific to your situation. I have had several such moments with Bibledice as well as the hard copy Bible. Many of these have been profound and personal, but I want to relate a lighthearted one here.
My wife and I had been arguing over ridiculous things—it was one of those days. I don’t mean to play the victim, but on this particular occasion I felt blindsided and couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I was getting raked over the coals. During a lull in the storm, I despairingly sat at the computer and thought I’d go to Bibledice and see if the Lord had any insight. I wondered if I would get some admonition like “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved his Church” (Eph. :25). I clicked the button and instead got this:
“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” Proverbs 21:9
I blinked, and then read it again. Then I laughed. It was like God and I were sharing an inside joke. It broke the gloom and lightened the mood. My wife also got a good laugh out of it and I don’t doubt that if she clicked for a scripture she might have gotten some proverb about a foolish man.
Obviously it would be easy to get carried away with reading too much meaning into every “roll” of biblebice. But I do believe some are messages meant for us specifically during specific times in life. I have received touching emails from users who attest to this fact. As Proverbs 16:33 says, “We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall” (New Living Translation).
Which brings me to my last point. Regular or even casual users of Bibledice have their Bibledice stories, moments when the right verse came at the right time. I would like to share some of your stories on this blog. You can remain anonymous, use initials, or full name as you wish. Please email your Bibledice story to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for supporting Bibledice. Please check back with this blog for reflections on Bible passages as well as thoughts and explorations in my own spiritual journey.